agriculture

Siouxland Public Media

A district court judge has rejected a request by former Gov. Terry Branstad’s lawyers to set aside a jury verdict that concluded Branstad discriminated against a former state official because he’s gay.

The ruling  rejects dozens of arguments, including challenges to legal rulings during trial and jury instructions.

Branstad’s attorneys asked the judge to set aside the July 15 jury verdict of $1.5 million awarded to former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey.

pxhere.com

A new report says farm bankruptcies have risen in Nebraska and Iowa.

The American Farm Bureau Federation shows Chapter 12 bankruptcies rose 24% nationwide over the previous year that ended on September 30th.

The report cited severe weather and trade disputes among the problems faced by farmers.

There were 37 farm bankruptcies in Nebraska and 24 in Iowa over those 12 months.

The highest number of farm bankruptcies was in Wisconsin, with 48. Nebraska tied for second with Georgia and Kansas.

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Minnesota and the Dakotas have seen snow and rain in recent weeks that have hampered an already difficult harvest. But much of the Corn Belt has somewhat recovered from heavy rains in the spring and summer, with experts predicting good yields from what did get planted.  

Steve Nicholson, a grains and oilseeds analyst with Rabobank in St. Louis, says that even though many farmers are still struggling, he believes the markets would be a lot more unsettled if a total disaster was looming.

A Siouxland native is helping pork producers go high-tech. Chris Bomgaars created an app called “EveryPig”.  “EveryPig” says it helps farmers manage their livestock and improves the health of hogs.

Woodbury County Jail

A man has been sentenced to five years in prison after admitting he fatally punched a Sioux City man and then fled to Mexico.   

25-year-old Ray Avila pleaded guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter and flight to avoid prosecution.

After being punched, 31-year-old Peter Johnson fractured his skull on a sidewalk and died later at a hospital.

Avila hit Johnson after a misunderstanding over what initially appeared to be a car break-in in July of 2018.

Siouxland Public Media

Democratic candidate for President and U.S. Senator from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand made a campaign stop in Sioux City August 7, 2019.  

She’s spending five-days crossing the state in an RV and dropped by the Key Club to meet with supporters and those still undecided.

“Your caucus goers are really well informed and they turn up. Several people here I have met several times.  They are getting to know the candidates one by one. I think if I get a chance to meet all the caucus goers one-by-one I can break through and win.”

Library of Congress

In the Bible, when Job’s friends handed out their opinions of his suffering, they had his health in mind; but none of them, nor their arguments, could satisfy the emptiness in his soul. He'd lost his family, his land, his enterprise, even his health in a tsunami of bad times. Job likely numbered his days as "the worst hard times,"  the title of Timothy Egan's masterful portrayal of an American time and a place we've commonly become to describe as "the Dust Bowl."

United States Government

President Donald Trump plans to visit western this afternoon.  He starts his trip in Council Bluffs to tour and speak at Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy.  The company produces and sells ethanol.  The president will attend a GOP dinner in Des Moines.

Meanwhile, Democrat Joe Biden is visiting the Hawkeye state today as well.  He will speak at events in Ottumwa, Mount Pleasant and Davenport.

On the weekend, more than a dozen of Biden's Democratic rivals were in Iowa for a party dinner.

Trisorn Triboon

Tariffs have been making it difficult for farmers to pay off loans. To learn more about how higher tariffs are affecting farms, we spoke with Allen Featherstone. 

Allen Featherstone is the head of Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. He says for over a year the farm economy has been struggling. Some of the struggles include increase in collateral, negative incomes, and the buildup of farm incomes over the years. 

Wikimedia Commons

She told me she remembered Black Sunday, that she’d never forget it in fact, because she was just a little girl, and her family was in church. It was a Sabbath afternoon. It was Palm Sunday too, the first day of Holy Week, and her family was at worship when “the roller” came in, a curtain of darkness, a huge wall of dust swept up from ground shorn of its ancient grasses.  When that roller arrived, she said, the church filled with dust, blinding them all. What she had never forgotten was that the only thing she could see up front behind the pulpit was the pastor’s white collar.

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